Massachusetts auto insurance rates may rise due to legalized pot

auto insurance rates could rise from legalized marijuana

Drivers in the state can expect to see rising premiums regardless of whether or not they us marijuana.

Massachusetts auto insurance rates are expected to rise across the state as a result of legalized marijuana. This is the case regardless of whether an individual driver actually uses it, say industry experts.

Crashes increase in states where the sale of recreational marijuana is legal, says a recent study.

According to data from a recent auto insurance rates study, crashes occur more frequently in states allowing recreational pot use, reported the Boston Herald.

“You’re looking at an increase of around 4 to 6 percent in overall coverage,” said Insurance Information Institute chief actuary, James Lynch.

The study was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It determined that in states where the sale of marijuana is legal, crashes are up to 6 percent more frequent. This included in states such as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Nevada. The crash rates are measurably higher than neighboring states in which marijuana cannot be legally purchased.

The crash data and auto insurance rates forecast was directly linked with legalized marijuana.

“There’s a pretty direct correlation,” said Lynch regarding the findings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Study (I.I.H.S.). Lynch also underscored that insurance rates would naturally rise as a result of the increase in crashes, in order to cover the cost of the greater risk. He predicted that residents across Massachusetts would also be watching their auto insurance premiums rising over the next year or two due to the recent change in marijuana laws.

Massachusetts will soon be opening retail pot shops across the state as its regulators already gave their final licensing approvals to two shops in October.

“We want to make people aware that there is a social cost involved,” said Lynch.

The I.I.H.S. research conducted a comparison between the accident rate in Colorado and those of Utah, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Then those rates were compared to the crash numbers in Idaho, Washington, Montana and Oregon. The findings were direct and clear. Many factors were taken into consideration and included controls for insured vehicle fleet, auto insurance rates could rise from legalized marijuanadriver population, urban versus rural exposure, unemployment, seasonality and weather. The I.I.H.S. showed that collision claims are the form most frequently received by auto insurance companies. As a result, the increases in crashes cause more claims and, as a result, drive the auto insurance rates to rise.

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